Sir Keir Starmer claims Labour can 'win next election' in speech interrupted by hecklers

Sir Keir Starmer has claimed Labour can win the next election as he declared Britain was set for a period of "rapid change" and that his party could “remake this nation”.

In his first big conference speech, the Labour leader sought to bury the view built by his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn that the party was “unpatriotic or irresponsible”.

In an address lasting an hour-and-a-half on Wednesday, the Labour leader was repeatedly heckled by supporters of Mr Corbyn, who were then shouted down by a supportive crowd.

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Sir Keir had grappled with the Labour left throughout the conference, but told delegates his party were now ready to win.

Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech at the Labour Party conference in Brighton.

He said: “I can see the ways in which we can remake this nation and that’s what we get to do when we win.

“Yet in a way the more we expose the inadequacy of this government, the more it presses the question back on us. If they are so bad, what does it say about us?

"Because after all in 2019 we lost to them and we lost badly. I know that hurts each and every one of you.

“So, let’s get totally serious about this – we can win the next election.

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"In a few short years from now I want to be here with you talking about the difference we are making, the problems we are fixing as a Labour government.

“That is what this party is for. That’s the object of the exercise and as the leader of this party I will always have that eye-on-the-object look.”

Sir Keir also contrasted his past as the head of the Crown Prosecution Service with the Prime Minister’s background as a newspaper columnist.

“It’s easy to comfort yourself that your opponents are bad people,” he said.

“But I don’t think Boris Johnson is a bad man. I think he is a trivial man.

"I think he’s a showman with nothing left to show. I think he’s a trickster who has performed his one trick.

“Once he had said the words ‘Get Brexit Done’, his plan ran out. There is no plan.”

Sir Keir added: “We have a fuel crisis, a pay crisis, a goods crisis and a cost of living crisis all at the same time ... Prime Minister, either get a grip or get out of the way and let us clear up this mess.”

Shortly after starting his speech, the Labour leader was confronted with one delegate chanting “Oh Jeremy Corbyn”.

Other interruptions included challenging his stance on Brexit and calling for him to introduce a £15-per-hour minimum wage.

Hitting back to loud cheers, Sir Keir joked: “It’s usually the Tories heckling me at this time on a Wednesday. It doesn’t bother me.

"Shouting slogans or changing lives, conference?”.

Sir Keir also took on the issue of Brexit, deploying his own three-word slogan to tell Mr Johnson he must “make Brexit work”.

He said Labour must “win trust that we will create a strong economy”, warning “the public finances we will inherit will need serious repair work”.

“The economic inheritance from the Tories will be appalling – a botched Brexit followed by Covid has left a big hole,” he said.

“The government is learning that it is not enough to ‘Get Brexit Done’. You need a plan to ‘Make Brexit Work’.”

The Labour leader also highlighted how being the son of a tool factory worker and a nurse shaped his political values.

He said: "My dad was a tool maker. Although in a way so was Boris Johnson's.

“So when I hear that this country is creating so many low-paid jobs and when I tell you that good work and fair growth will be the priority for a Labour government, I haven’t learnt this in some political seminar. I learnt it round the kitchen table.”

There was also praise for the leader of Scottish Labour, Anas Sarwar.

Sir Keir said: “Under the fantastic leadership of Anas Sarwar, Labour is the party of the union.”

A multibillion-pound pledge to upgrade insulation for up to 19 million homes was also made, with Sir Keir calling the retrofit plan a “national mission”.

It will aim to deliver greener homes, lower bills and require an annual investment of £6 billion, the party said.

Sir Keir told delegates at the party’s conference in Brighton: “If we are serious about climate change, we will need to upgrade our homes.

“The Tories inherited plans from Labour to make every new home zero carbon.

“They scrapped them and now we have a crisis in energy prices. Emissions from homes have increased and we have the least energy-efficient housing in Europe.

“So it will be Labour’s national mission over the next decade to fit out every home that needs it, to make sure it is warm, well-insulated and costs less to heat, and we will create thousands of jobs in the process.

“I can also pledge that we will also introduce a Clean Air Act and everything we do in government will have to meet a ‘net-zero’ test to ensure that the prosperity we enjoy does not come at the cost of the climate.”

The announcement follows a commitment from shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves to spend an extra £28bn each year helping Britain tackle the climate change crisis under Labour.

Sir Keir also promised “the most ambitious school improvement plan in a generation”, vowing to recruit thousands of new teachers and to reform Ofsted.

SNP Westminster deputy leader Kirsten Oswald said the speech showed how “profoundly out-of-touch” Sir Keir was with “what’s actually happening in Scotland”.

Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden accused Labour of being preoccupied by infighting.

The Tory said: “As Labour’s chaotic conference comes to an end, it is clear Sir Keir Starmer’s party is more divided than ever and has no plan.”


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